Getting injured in a car accident is never a good thing. But for Michelle Orr of Monroe, it almost couldn’t have been a worse time.
When a car speeding for an exit clipped the front of her SUV and rolled her three times, hospitalizing her, the single mom with two kids at home was uniquely economically vulnerable.
She only had liability insurance on her vehicle. And she had just started a new job and wasn’t eligible for the health insurance yet.
So when the other driver sped away from the scene, she was financially devastated, injured and out of work for long enough to wipe out her savings. Now her friends have started a benefit bank account for her to help her survive until she can get back to work.
Orr was headed home from Maggiano’s Little Italy in Kirkland, the Italian restaurant at which she is a waitress, on Saturday night, Aug. 10 at about midnight when a car cut her off at high speed, trying to make the exit off I-405 to 160th.
“It was like a little gold Prius, going really fast, like 80 mph,” said Orr. “It went all the way across the freeway and hit me.”
Her airbag went off and she rolled three times, coming to rest in the exit. By the time she stopped rolling, the other car had vanished.
“I was sliding sideways and then I was rolling and then a whole bunch of people pulled over and then he was gone,” she said.
As she rested in the hospital later, with injuries including a terribly bruised left arm, a fractured rib, a punctured lung and assorted cuts and bruises, she realized the enormity of what had occurred.
“When you are a single mom, the first thing you think of is money,” she said. “I’m in the hospital, my car is ruined, I can’t work, and the guy took off? Are you kidding me?”
The police are aggressively seeking the driver, she said. But if the driver is never identified, she’ll be a long time recovering financially. Her only mode of transportation has been destroyed, she’s been out of work for three weeks, and she has a lot of hospital bills.
Friends and coworkers are trying to identify sources of help with hospital bills, but that won’t help her with her other bills while she’s out of work.
Fortunately, she said, she had no debt and had a little set by, enough to cover August. But September is another story.
“Next month I’ll be in trouble,” she said. “I have to get back to work.”
But friends hope that the community might help her get back on her feet, too.
So they started a Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/helpafterhit, and described their friend.
“Michelle Orr is a hard worker and the most responsible person I know,” the page creator wrote. “She has raised her two boys (Alex and Chris) as a single mother on a waitress salary for over 10 years now, and is great at what she does.”
“This situation is more than frustrating,” the page went on. “What is Michelle supposed to do? What are we as her friends and family members supposed to do? Each of us alone may not be able to do that much, but together we can help Michelle get through this.”
There is a link on the Facebook page that allows visitors to make a PayPal donation to a special bank account set up in her honor.
And anyone can walk into any branch of Washington Federal and make a donation to Melanie Morgan for Michelle Orr.
It could make a huge difference to a woman who got hit with some very bad luck, they said.
“We can make sure her rent gets paid while she is out of work, make sure there is food in her pantry, and make sure she has transportation to work when she is ready to return,” they said.